For my husband Lulu's birthday, the three of us took a few days off to visit Paris. My baby Aria is already having a blast, enjoying every bit of Parisian life so far. We arrived last Friday and have already had time to go to museums and wander through Parisian markets. We noticed that Halloween has become increasingly popular in France, and decorated pumpkins are available everywhere. Of course, pumpkins are just as much fun to eat as they are to draw on, so I picked one up and used it to make dinner.
To prepare this recipe I roasted a pumpkin, gathered the pulp and stuffed it into a crêpe. The filling also contains a little Saint Marcellin cheese and pine nuts. I love cooking with this ripe cheese; when warm, it has a robust mushroom-y, earthy flavor.
Give this recipe a try, and you’ll (almost) feel like you're in the City of Lights. I’ll take lots of pictures while I’m here and will share them on my Twitter and Facebook pages, so if you haven’t already, follow / like Pham Fatale for all the updates!
Servings: 12 appetizers
, omitting the sugar
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons lavender honey (or your favorite sweetener)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 small, red, waxy potatoes (see tips), peeled, boiled and mashed
1 piece ripe Saint Marcellin cheese, at room temperature
1 small pumpkin, peeled and seeded
1 sprig oregano, finely chopped
1 (7-inch) piece leek, mostly the green part
3 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Roasting the pumpkin:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Dice the pumpkin into 1½" cubes. In a bowl, toss the diced pumpkin in honey, garlic, mustard, oregano, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Place the pumpkin pieces without crowding them. Drizzle with 2 tablespoon olive oil. Roast for 35 minutes, until golden brown and softened. Let cool. Slightly mash the pumpkin with the back of a fork.
Prepping the leeks:
Remove 3 leek leaves. Cut them into quarters, lengthwise and boil until softened. Drain and set aside.
Finely slice the rest of the leeks.
Making the cheese filling:
In a small pan, heat the remaining olive oil. Add the sliced leeks and cook for 4-5 minutes until lightly golden.
In a food processor, combine the coarsely chopped Saint marcellin cheese, pumpkin, salt and pepper. Add a little water for a smoother flow. Blend until smooth. Reserve a few tablespoons for garnish.
Transfer to a bowl and add the potatoes, pine nuts and 1 tablespoon parsley. Adjust seasoning. Form 12 balls.
Assembly time: Place a crêpe on the working space. Place a ball of pumpkin and tie the crêpe into a bunch using the reserved boiled leek tie. Place on a serving platter. Garnish with the reserved pumpkin sauce and pine nuts. Finish with parsley.
You could also add shredded chicken or smoked salmon to the filling if you like.
You could replace the pumpkin with butternut squash, acorn squash, sweet potatoes or your favorite fall vegetable.
My parents spent their summer vacation in the South of France in Grau-du-Roi in the Gard Department and bought various kinds of honey. The lavender honey tastes out of this world.
You could replace the Saint Marcellin with any ripe, creamy cheese such as double crème brie or camembert.
If you go to France and want to order a beggar's purse at a restaurant, the French name is "Aumonière".
I used "Chérie" (that's the French name) variety potato. They're small, red, oblong potatoes.